Polish territory?

Discussions on other historical eras.
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lukeo
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Post by lukeo » 12 Jul 2003 23:24

viriato wrote:Musashi after all you are capable of discussing the subject... Good to know! :lol:

Thanks for the web page. I now see where lukeo got his map! Very good! A pity that it ends on Kasimir the Great... It would be great if we got maps till the XX century...

I now am looking for instance for the Czech point of view and compare to these maps. We ought to know all points of view... 8)


That's because this site, which I found is only about the Piast dynasty, the firs Polish dynasty.

But those maps (except that one from the times if Casimir the Great) are the scans from Atlass of Polish History, which I owe. This atlass include maps up to 1946. the map from the times of Casimir is much more detailed there. I don't have scanner, but I'll mayby scan them in near future. Stay tooned;)

Why do you need Czech point of view, viriato?


Best wishes to all defenders of Polish cause and Polish rights!!!!

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Post by viriato » 13 Jul 2003 11:33

Hi lukeo

You asked why should I need the Czech point of view? It is quite simple. Their point of view is not exactly the same as the Polish one and it is always better to have a balanced view. BTW I own a history of Czech lands originaly published in Czech (the authors are Czech) and in a French translation. From memory I remember for instance that they stress the fact that Silesia (and Krakow also) had been Czech for more time than you are allowing to. The book has some simple black and white maps but their quality is obviously inferior to the ones online in the webpage Musashi gave us.

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Post by viriato » 13 Jul 2003 12:49

Meanwhile I found another point of view, the Kashubian one. See at:

http://www.kaszubia.com/de/geschichte/karten/index.htm

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Post by viriato » 13 Jul 2003 12:52

Meanwhile I found another point of view, the Kashubian one. See at:

http://www.kaszubia.com/de/geschichte/karten/index.htm

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Post by lukeo » 13 Jul 2003 14:23

Well, I have been on this site already.
But those maps show only the territory with common Kashubian language. As you already know, the diffrence beetween Kashubian and Slovincian was caused by the separation of those gruops. The SLovincians gathered themselves on central and western Pomorze. They remnants were living around Lake Lebsko, and survived the time they were included into Polish state in 1945.
I don't believe that's a diffrent point of view. The Kashubians are faithful Polish citizens, that only continue their own language and folklore. Fare them well!

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Post by Szczerbiec » 13 Jul 2003 22:55

Actually some Kaszubians want a minority status from the European Parliament, but we must agree that money is behind all this affair...

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Post by Karl da Kraut » 14 Jul 2003 19:46

Well, that’s actionally an interesting and complex topic. Unfortunately, it’s just too broad, and most posts are just too simplifying. I don’t know where to begin…

Much of this topic is settled in Medival history. First of all, when discussing Medieval history don’t try to transport modern ideas – such as modern nationalism – into that time. Second: “Medieval history is family history”: protagonists weren’t peoples, countries or even nations, but family politicians who wouldn’t understand our way of thinking. Just an example: Viriato spoke of a mysterious “Czech King”, and nobody contradicted. What Czech King? Sources only speak of a King of Bohemia (or Boemia)!

Due to the complexness of the topic, I’ll try to describe a part of Silesian history, from late Roman to late Medieval times:


Schlesien/Silesia

The name of that landstrip has it’s roots in the Germanic tribe Silingi (Silingen), which left the region during the Great Migration of Peoples. Several Slavic tribes moved into Silesia and settled there.
In the early 10th century, those tribes in Silesia came under the overlordship of the Bohemian princes (not kings yet) who christianized the land and founded Vratislavia (Breslau/Wrclaw?). In ca. 990 the Polish prince Miezko I. conquered most of Silesia, which was now disputed between Poland and Bohemia. After a century of repeatedly changing control, most of Silesia was ceded to Poland in a peace treaty in 1137. The German settlement began the same time with the establishment of monasteries. With the hereditary division of Poland after Prince Boleslav’s III. (oo Agnes von Babenberg) Death in 1138, Silesia began to develop independency from Poland. According to the Polish constitution, Silesia became a parial princedom under Boleslav’s oldest son Wladyslav II. who thereby founded the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty. Under his two sons, Silesia was divided into two duchies: Lower and Central Silesia as ducatus Silesia, and Ratibor, Teschen, and Oppeln as ducatus Opoliensis.
When the Polish constitution became extinct in 1202, both duchies remained independent realms between the Empire and Poland. They conducted autonomous policies and opened increasingly to German immigration, which resulted in a broad improvement of infrastructure with wood-, and wasteland clearings, foundation of new cities (more than 100) and villages (more than 1,200), most of them being granted the German right (Ius Teutonicum). Most of the German settlers hailed from the bordering regions of Thuringia, Saxony, and Meißen. The population growth is estimated to have reached 500%. Only the infertile region east of the Oder River and the wooded eastern part of Upper Silesia remained (almost completely) untouched by the German settlement.
The most energetic initiator of the settlement was the Silesian duke Henry I. (1201-1238; oo St. Hedwig von Andechs-Meranien), who tried to expand his rule into Oppeln and Polish territories. When his son Henry II.(oo Anna of Bohemia) fell at Liegnitz in 1241, the development took the opposite direction, however. In the duchies of Silesia (since 1241) and Oppeln (since 1281) dynastical hereditary divisions led to a fragmentation in more than a dozen small and rivalizing Piast duchies.
Both Bohemia and Poland tried to exploit the vacuum of power. The increasing pressure from two sidescompelled the Piasts of Silesia and Oppeln to subordinate to the Bohemian crown as vassals (1327-1342). Charles IV. inherited the two remaining duchies by marrying Anna of Schweidnitz-Jauer in 1353.
Already in in 1335 Kasimir III. of Poland had renounced all claims to the Silesian duchies (confirmed in 1339). In 1348 Charles IV. (as the German king) solemny proclaimed Silesia part of the Bohemian crown, and repeated that act in 1355 (this time as Roman emperor). Since Bohemia was part of the Empire, Silesia became part of the Empire when becoming part of Bohemia.

A Czech, a German, and a Pole meet to discuss the legitimacy of national claims to Silesia.

German: Silesia is ours! It was originally inhabited by a Gernic tribe.
Czech and Pole: But they left! And Slavic tribes took possession of Silesia.
Czech: Silesia is ours! It was under our overlordship first, christianized the country, and we founded Silesia’s capital.
Pole Silesia is ours! We conquered it in 990.
Czech: But you couldn’t get a secure hold on it, it was disputed for 140 years.
Pole: But finally, in a treaty signed by Bohemia, Silesia firmly became a part of Poland.
Czech and German: But only for a single year!
German: By the way: in that time the German settlement began.
Pole: O.k., only for a single year. But the duke was still a Piast, therefore a Pole.
German: So, they were Poles. But they married to German women, at least they were half-Germans. And they were finally given German Christian names, too.
Pole: According to the German law of that time, only the male line of descension counted. Therefore, they were Poles.
German: Maybe, maybe not. But Silesia developed into a country predominantly populated by Germans.
Pole: By Germans subject to the rule of Piast (ergo Polish) princes!
Czech: Wait a minute! The Piast princes accepted Bohemian rule, and Poland renounced all her claims to Silesia. Therefore, Silesia is Czech.
German: Hey, hey! You can’t equate Bohemia with a Czech national state. A large proportion of the Bohemian people were Germans, possibly even the majority…
Czech: Possibly, possibly not. But the rulers were Czech.
German: The Luxembourgs were Germans.
Czech: Can the Luxembourgs really be considered Germans?


If they haven’t died yet, they’re still debating.

I hope this shows just how pointless such discussions can be. Don’t forget, that’s only a short excerpt from Silesian history.
History continually goes on and doesn’t allow to set a deadline.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 15 Jul 2003 06:35

Polish expansion(10th &11th centuries),German colonization in the East,12th & 13th Centuries(Pengiun Atlas of World History).Surprisingly the books a translated German source.
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Post by michael mills » 15 Jul 2003 07:02

A first-class post by Karl da Kraut!

It demonstrates the futility of projecting back into medieval times the nationalitic, ethnically-based versions of history, whether German, Polish, Czech or whatever, that had their origins in the 19th Century, as a result of the French Revolution.

Prior to the birth of ethnic nationalism after the French Revolution, lands were not thought of as belonging to the people inhabiting them, but rather as the possessions of sovereign princes, or more abstractly of Crowns. Thus, a territory such as Silesia could at one time be a possession of the Polish Crown, and then pass to the possession of the Czech Crown.

In medieval times, Crowns and the lands possessed by them operated very much like modern corporations. The Czech Crown, for example, was similar to a corporate body owning a number of assets; at that time, the sole asset of any value was land and the peasants tied to the land who worked. Thus, the Czech Crown owned Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Just as in modern times a particular asset can pass from the ownrship of one corporation to another, by sale for example, or as part of a takeover, so in medieval times a territory could pass from one Crown to another.

Thus, Silesia passed from the possession of the Polish Crown to that of the Czech Crown, in whose possession it remained until 1742. That is to say, it was a possession of whomever was King of Bohemia, the person baring the Czech Crown.

Just as the management of a modern corporation can change without altering the status of the corporation itself, so in medieval and early modern times a Crown could pass from one dynasty to another. Thus, the Czech Crown and its possessions passed to the Luxemburg dynasty, and then to the Habsburg dynasty, in whose hands it remained, apart from a very brief period in the early 17th Century when a revolt by the shareholders (the Czech nobility) brought in a manager from the Rhenish Palatinate.

Like a modern business mogul combining a number of corporations into a transnational conglomerate, the Habsburg dynasty combined all the Crowns to which it held title into a single unit known informally as the Habsburg Empire. But Silesia, for example, remained a possession of the Czech Crown, and the Habsburgs held Silesia in their capacity as Kings of Bohemia, not in their capacity as Archdukes of Austria, for example.

As is well known, the territory of Silesia was divided in 1742, the great majority of it being transferred to the possession of the Prussian Crown, and only the small southern part remaining a Habsburg possession.

All the above changes of ownership of territory were quite separate from ethnic developments. It is clear that over a period of several centuries, the ethnic identity of the majority of inhabitants of Silesia, measured in terms of native language and culture, ceased to be Slavic and became German. That development was partly due to immigration of ethnic Germans from the west, but also due to a process of acculturation (called Umvolkung in German) whereby individuals changed their ethnic identity and became Germans rather than Slavs. It is the same process whereby immigrants to the United States adopted English and an American identity.

It appears that some part of the Silesian population retained its original Slavic identity, but that part was very much a minority. I would wonder to what extent the majority Polish population in East Upper Silesia was the result of immigration during the 19th century, the period when that area was developed as a major industrial centre, since that area appears to have been rather thinly populated prior to its industrialisation.

The upshot is that, when considering whether a particular territory such as Silesia or West Prussia was at a particular time Polish or Czech or German, one needs to be clear whether one is talking about political structure or the ethnic make-up of its population. The fact that a particular territory was for a particular period in the possession of a particular Crown says nothing about the ethnicity of the people living there.

On this thread we have been treated to a number of posts that present a Polish nationalist version of the history of various lands. That version of history is as much likely to be in error as opposing nationalist versions, since, as I have said, it projects backwards a concept of political structure based on ethnicity that only arose in the 19th century.

Let us take the example of West Prussia, which was the original topic of this thread. There is a Polish nationalist version of its history, which we have seen presented. But there is also a Baltic, or more precisely Lithunanian, chauvinist version of the history of East and West Prussia, and of whole territories that are now Slavic, that presents an entirely different picture.

Anyone who has read the works of the late Professor Marija Gimbutas, the noted Lithuanian archeologist, will be aware of claims that the Baltic peoples (the anestors of the modern Lithuanians and Latvians) in early medieval times occupied a very large territory stretching along the Baltic coast from the Oder in the west to the upper Volga in the east. These claims are drawn out of thin air, but are based on analysis of archeological finds and linguistic evidence, which apparently establish the existence of a unified cultural entity once existing in those areas.

I do not propose to get involve in a stoush as to whether the inhabitants of the lower Vistula and the surrounding coastal areas were of Baltic or Slavic ethnic stock in the 12th century. But we need to take account of the reason why Duke Conrad of Masovia called in the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century to fight the Borussi; the latter were a highly warlike people who were raiding the dukes lands and threatening his possession of them. The Polish princes had not been able to deal with the Borussi, but the Teutonic Knights had sufficient military power to be able to defeat them, and indeed largely destroy them as a people.

The destruction of the Borussi created a vacuum into which other peoples could move. To some extent it was filled by settlers brought in from Germany and the Netherlands, but it also allowed Slavic settlers from further south to move northward. That movement accounts for the presence of the Masurians in the south of East Prussia and of the Kashubians in West Prussia. It is noteworthy that although both peoples were of Slavic origin, they became heavily germanised over time. The Masurians in particular, having become Lutheran in the 16th Century, when East Prussia was converted into a secular state, identified themselves as Germans who happened to speak a Slavic dialect at home. The Kashubians remained Catholic and retained their Slavic dialect as a liturgical language, so their ethnic position remained more fluid.

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Post by lukeo » 15 Jul 2003 14:24

I see, that this topic is causing some serious discussions about central Europe's history. That's very good, because to many, many people Poland and the other countries, that join the EU next year is still Terra Incognita.
That you Karl, for you post. It's fresh and new, since almost everyone has his own piont of view here. But I need to comment some things here.


Karl da Kraut wrote:
Viriato spoke of a mysterious “Czech King”, and nobody contradicted. What Czech King? Sources only speak of a King of Bohemia (or Boemia)!


It was Czech kingdom. For Czechs themselves and also for example to Poles. When John of Luxemburg made his last charge he said in the Czech language:

Tot, Boh da, ne bude, by KRAL CZESKY z boje utiekal
Don't let, my God, for the CZECH KING to run away from battle.

Bohemia (german Boemen, or something like that) is a latin name for Czechia, one of two (with Moravia) regions of Czech kingdom and today the Czech republik. Latin, but original Czech name for THEIR land is Czesko (i write the 'cz', like Poles do, because, I cannot write Czech dialectical signs on my computer. "Czech" is pron. "Cheh"). The name Bohemia comes from ancient Germanic tribe, but it is inaccurate, and false. it was invented in medieval times not by Czechs, but foreign writers. The same tendention was visible in case of Poland for some time. Some german chronicles call Poland VANDALIA, which is stupid.


Schlesien/Silesia


Ok, to work!

The name of that landstrip has it’s roots in the Germanic tribe Silingi (Silingen), which left the region during the Great Migration of Peoples. Several Slavic tribes moved into Silesia and settled there.


it's nothing but one of three theories about origins of Slask's name. And it is even not the most possible of them, however, very popular among German historians. Popular despite the fact it was created during the Nazi era.
The other two theories speek about Slavic origin of that world. First, the Mountain Sleza (Gora Sleza), place of Slavic pagan cult. The second one is about old Slavonic (extinct now in Polish Language) word "S'leuzhat' ", which mean "be wet, to steam, to vaporize". The land of Slask was covered in much percent with swamps, old-river-beds, and soil lands.

In the early 10th century, those tribes in Silesia came under the overlordship of the Bohemian princes (not kings yet) who christianized the land and founded Vratislavia (Breslau/Wrclaw?). In ca. 990 the Polish prince Miezko I. conquered most of Silesia, which was now disputed between Poland and Bohemia.


I more or less agree with that. However it is not sure when Poland uder Mieszko conquered Slask. It is sure only, that he married Dubravka, Czech princess around 960. Sure is also the fact, that he married her to end the war with Czech princedom (Poland was also only princedom at the moment. First Polish king, Boleslav the Brave, or Great - son of Mieszko and Dubrovka- crowned himself in 1025 AD).
Some historians say, that Mieszko married Dubrovka before, some, that after the conquest of Silesia. It doest't change the fact, that the short time of Mieszko and Dubrovka's marriage (soon Dubrovka died) was the short time of armed peace beetween Poland and Czechia.
And, keep in mind, that when Mieszko died in 990s, Slask was in Polish hands, and Othon III, in his venture to Poland in 1000AD didn't undermine it.

After a century of repeatedly changing control, most of Silesia was ceded to Poland in a peace treaty in 1137
.

Slask was shortly held by the Czechs after death of Mieszko II of Poland, when whole Polish state simply collapsed. It was not the only land, that Poland lost then. West Pomorze gained its independence, as well as Mazovia, under the rullership of local leader Mstislav. Poland also lost Lausitz to Germany and so called "Grody Czerwienskie" - eastern borders to Russia. It was also time of Pagan mutiny. So you all see, that it was a time of total desitegration of Polish state.
The Mieszko's son, Casimir the Restorer, after he had returned to Poland, recovered much of those loses, including Slask and Mazovia.

The German settlement began the same time with the establishment of monasteries. With the hereditary division of Poland after Prince Boleslav’s III. (oo Agnes von Babenberg) Death in 1138, Silesia began to develop independency from Poland. According to the Polish constitution, Silesia became a parial princedom under Boleslav’s oldest son Wladyslav II. who thereby founded the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty. Under his two sons, Silesia was divided into two duchies: Lower and Central Silesia as ducatus Silesia, and Ratibor, Teschen, and Oppeln as ducatus Opoliensis.


Yes, true. But foreign settlers then were not so strong in number and even they weren't predominary Germans. The first waves of settlers were almost completely assimilated by the Slavic majority. When I said "first waves" I mean those before the devastating Mongol Invasion and the tragical battle of Legnica in 1241. Even the German historians from the Nazi era claimed that the invasion was the turning point, that started more numerous settlements. End even then, Poles were the majority for VERY long time.

When the Polish constitution became extinct in 1202, both duchies remained independent realms between the Empire and Poland. They conducted autonomous policies and opened increasingly to German immigration, which resulted in a broad improvement of infrastructure with wood-, and wasteland clearings, foundation of new cities (more than 100) and villages (more than 1,200), most of them being granted the German right (Ius Teutonicum).


You forget the fact, that most of those cities and villages were RE-founded in new, more suitable to dwellers law. Even Krakov, Poznan, Warsaw and other major Polish cities were refounded in this law.
Those cities weren't new. The world "foundation" is not accure, but it was the official name for giving them a new municipial law. The first town "founded" on new "Prawo Niemieckie (Ius Teutonicum in Polish)" in Poland and Slask was Zlotoriya, town, which surely existed long before the German immigration.


Most of the German settlers hailed from the bordering regions of Thuringia, Saxony, and Meißen. The population growth is estimated to have reached 500%. Only the infertile region east of the Oder River and the wooded eastern part of Upper Silesia remained (almost completely) untouched by the German settlement.


I wouldn't be so sure for those numbers. I believe, that the number of the settlers was much lower. If they would be so numerous, so why in 15th century the Wroclaw's citizens, were dominary speaking Polish language?
Or why in 17th cemtury, during the XXX years war, Polish mercenaries refused to robb the villagers of lands around Legnica, because thay were (suprisingly to soldiers) speaking Polish? Have you read about Nanker in two of my previous posts? Or about Wodni Polacy guilt?
And don't claim, that before Germans there were only forests and wooden hutts. It's not true, and not polite.

The most energetic initiator of the settlement was the Silesian duke Henry I. (1201-1238; oo St. Hedwig von Andechs-Meranien), who tried to expand his rule into Oppeln and Polish territories. When his son Henry II.(oo Anna of Bohemia) fell at Liegnitz in 1241, the development took the opposite direction, however. In the duchies of Silesia (since 1241) and Oppeln (since 1281) dynastical hereditary divisions led to a fragmentation in more than a dozen small and rivalizing Piast duchies.


Yes. But last words of Henryk Pobozny (Henry the Pious) before his fell in the battle of Legnice were: GORZE NAM SIE STALO, which mean "Bad things happened to us". It is also known, that during the battle, the Mongol soldiers starded to skream "Biegajcie, biegajcie", which mean "Run away!" in Old Polish, causing much confused knights to retreat. So, most of the knights and peasants that were fighting in the Battle of Legnica were Polish-speaking.

Both Bohemia and Poland tried to exploit the vacuum of power. The increasing pressure from two sidescompelled the Piasts of Silesia and Oppeln to subordinate to the Bohemian crown as vassals (1327-1342). Charles IV. inherited the two remaining duchies by marrying Anna of Schweidnitz-Jauer in 1353.
Already in in 1335 Kasimir III. of Poland had renounced all claims to the Silesian duchies (confirmed in 1339). In 1348 Charles IV. (as the German king) solemny proclaimed Silesia part of the Bohemian crown, and repeated that act in 1355 (this time as Roman emperor). Since Bohemia was part of the Empire, Silesia became part of the Empire when becoming part of Bohemia.


This is sad fact, that show, ow Poland was week in time of its desintegration of many Piast princedoms (about 30 for some time). It is also known, that Casimir the Great was a known layer, that didn't ever care with treaties. In last years of his life, Casimir planned a war against Czech Kingdom. Unfortunately, he died in accident in winter, shortly before the attack. He died without heir, and Poland faced dynastial crisis.
After Piasts, the Polish throne went on to Franco-Hungarian dynasty of Anjou, and in 138s in passed of Jaggielons, lithuanian dynasty. The new Polish kings were more interested in affaires in South (for example crusaid in 1444 or wars with Turkey) and in North and South (Teutons and Russia). Despite the opinion of most of Polish community, which is wieved for example in Dlugosz's Chronicle.
Last edited by lukeo on 15 Jul 2003 17:56, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by lukeo » 15 Jul 2003 14:56

michael mills wrote:A first-class post by Karl da Kraut!

It demonstrates the futility of projecting back into medieval times the nationalitic, ethnically-based versions of history, whether German, Polish, Czech or whatever, that had their origins in the 19th Century, as a result of the French Revolution.

Prior to the birth of ethnic nationalism after the French Revolution, lands were not thought of as belonging to the people inhabiting them, but rather as the possessions of sovereign princes, or more abstractly of Crowns. Thus, a territory such as Silesia could at one time be a possession of the Polish Crown, and then pass to the possession of the Czech Crown.

In medieval times, Crowns and the lands possessed by them operated very much like modern corporations. The Czech Crown, for example, was similar to a corporate body owning a number of assets; at that time, the sole asset of any value was land and the peasants tied to the land who worked. Thus, the Czech Crown owned Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. Just as in modern times a particular asset can pass from the ownrship of one corporation to another, by sale for example, or as part of a takeover, so in medieval times a territory could pass from one Crown to another.

Thus, Silesia passed from the possession of the Polish Crown to that of the Czech Crown, in whose possession it remained until 1742. That is to say, it was a possession of whomever was King of Bohemia, the person baring the Czech Crown.

Just as the management of a modern corporation can change without altering the status of the corporation itself, so in medieval and early modern times a Crown could pass from one dynasty to another. Thus, the Czech Crown and its possessions passed to the Luxemburg dynasty, and then to the Habsburg dynasty, in whose hands it remained, apart from a very brief period in the early 17th Century when a revolt by the shareholders (the Czech nobility) brought in a manager from the Rhenish Palatinate.

Like a modern business mogul combining a number of corporations into a transnational conglomerate, the Habsburg dynasty combined all the Crowns to which it held title into a single unit known informally as the Habsburg Empire. But Silesia, for example, remained a possession of the Czech Crown, and the Habsburgs held Silesia in their capacity as Kings of Bohemia, not in their capacity as Archdukes of Austria, for example.

As is well known, the territory of Silesia was divided in 1742, the great majority of it being transferred to the possession of the Prussian Crown, and only the small southern part remaining a Habsburg possession.

All the above changes of ownership of territory were quite separate from ethnic developments. It is clear that over a period of several centuries, the ethnic identity of the majority of inhabitants of Silesia, measured in terms of native language and culture, ceased to be Slavic and became German. That development was partly due to immigration of ethnic Germans from the west, but also due to a process of acculturation (called Umvolkung in German) whereby individuals changed their ethnic identity and became Germans rather than Slavs. It is the same process whereby immigrants to the United States adopted English and an American identity.

It appears that some part of the Silesian population retained its original Slavic identity, but that part was very much a minority. I would wonder to what extent the majority Polish population in East Upper Silesia was the result of immigration during the 19th century, the period when that area was developed as a major industrial centre, since that area appears to have been rather thinly populated prior to its industrialisation.

The upshot is that, when considering whether a particular territory such as Silesia or West Prussia was at a particular time Polish or Czech or German, one needs to be clear whether one is talking about political structure or the ethnic make-up of its population. The fact that a particular territory was for a particular period in the possession of a particular Crown says nothing about the ethnicity of the people living there.

On this thread we have been treated to a number of posts that present a Polish nationalist version of the history of various lands. That version of history is as much likely to be in error as opposing nationalist versions, since, as I have said, it projects backwards a concept of political structure based on ethnicity that only arose in the 19th century.

Let us take the example of West Prussia, which was the original topic of this thread. There is a Polish nationalist version of its history, which we have seen presented. But there is also a Baltic, or more precisely Lithunanian, chauvinist version of the history of East and West Prussia, and of whole territories that are now Slavic, that presents an entirely different picture.

Anyone who has read the works of the late Professor Marija Gimbutas, the noted Lithuanian archeologist, will be aware of claims that the Baltic peoples (the anestors of the modern Lithuanians and Latvians) in early medieval times occupied a very large territory stretching along the Baltic coast from the Oder in the west to the upper Volga in the east. These claims are drawn out of thin air, but are based on analysis of archeological finds and linguistic evidence, which apparently establish the existence of a unified cultural entity once existing in those areas.

I do not propose to get involve in a stoush as to whether the inhabitants of the lower Vistula and the surrounding coastal areas were of Baltic or Slavic ethnic stock in the 12th century. But we need to take account of the reason why Duke Conrad of Masovia called in the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century to fight the Borussi; the latter were a highly warlike people who were raiding the dukes lands and threatening his possession of them. The Polish princes had not been able to deal with the Borussi, but the Teutonic Knights had sufficient military power to be able to defeat them, and indeed largely destroy them as a people.

The destruction of the Borussi created a vacuum into which other peoples could move. To some extent it was filled by settlers brought in from Germany and the Netherlands, but it also allowed Slavic settlers from further south to move northward. That movement accounts for the presence of the Masurians in the south of East Prussia and of the Kashubians in West Prussia. It is noteworthy that although both peoples were of Slavic origin, they became heavily germanised over time. The Masurians in particular, having become Lutheran in the 16th Century, when East Prussia was converted into a secular state, identified themselves as Germans who happened to speak a Slavic dialect at home. The Kashubians remained Catholic and retained their Slavic dialect as a liturgical language, so their ethnic position remained more fluid.



And some will never learn. Why you still claim such things in case of Pomorze? Haven't you seen the map? Haven't you read the things we said?

And - for those, that
identified themselves as Germans who happened to speak a Slavic dialect at home
. Have you heard about Gizewiusz, Ketrzynski, Mragowiusz, that awakened the Polish identify of Poles on Masuria? Do you know, what is the origin of the word "Masuria"? In is derive from word "Mazur", which oroginally meant the dweller of Mazowsze, but was moved on the Poles of E.Prussia. Most of them remained on Masuria in 1945. Would they do that if they believed, that they were Germans?

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 15 Jul 2003 21:46

@Karl,
Thanks for so very interesting post with many various points of view :)

Karl da Kraut
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Post by Karl da Kraut » 16 Jul 2003 10:27

@ Lukeo

Sorry, I'll not reply to your posts. Im afraid discussing with you is pointless, as these two sentences
In last years of his life, Casimir planned a war against Czech Kingdom. Unfortunately, he died in accident in winter, shortly before the attack.
expose your way of thinking.

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Post by michael mills » 17 Jul 2003 05:55

Luke0 wrote, addressing a post by me:

And some will never learn. Why you still claim such things in case of Pomorze? Haven't you seen the map? Haven't you read the things we said?



I fear Luke0 may be one of those who never learn. Yes, I did read what Like0 wrote, and I did look at the map (which is obviously a map produced in modern times that is an interpretation of medieval conditions). However, I did not accept them unconditionally, as they represent a version of history that is biassed toward a Polish nationalist point of view.

As I have written before, I see no reason why a Polish nationalist version of history is any better, or any more likely to be accurate, than a German nationalist version, or a Lithuanian nationalist version, or any other nationalist version. They are all biassed, although in different ways.

I would advise Luke0, and all the other Polish members of this forum who are propagating a nationalist version of their country's history, to emulate Karl da Kraut. I presume he is German, but he is capable of presenting an unbiassed view of the history of the Polish-German borderlands, unbiassed in the sense that his view is not slanted in favour of a German nationalist interpretation.

Luke0 also wrote:

Have you heard about Gizewiusz, Ketrzynski, Mragowiusz, that awakened the Polish identify of Poles on Masuria? Do you know, what is the origin of the word "Masuria"? In is derive from word "Mazur", which oroginally meant the dweller of Mazowsze, but was moved on the Poles of E.Prussia. Most of them remained on Masuria in 1945. Would they do that if they believed, that they were Germans?


I am well aware that the term "Masuria", denoting the southern part of East Prussia, was derived from the Polish "Mazowsze", denoting an historical province of Poland centred on Warsaw. "Masuria" is simply the Latin form of Mazowsze.

As I wrote previously, once the Teutonic Knights had destroyed the military power of the Borussi, Slavic peasants from Mazowsze/Masuria could move northward into the conquered territories. That movement was fostered by the Teutonic Knights, who wanted settlers to occupy and cultivate the territories they had just conquered. The Knights were as prepared to accept Slavic settlers from the south as German settlers from the west. The Slavic settlers retained their appellation as Masurians, and the area where they settled became known as Masuria (or Masuren in German) after them.

But the fact remains that those Slavic settlers, even though they retained their native Slavonic language, came to regard themselves as German, particularly after the Reformation when they, along with the whole population of East Prussia became Protestant.

After the First World War, the Masurians of East Prussia voted overwhelmingly to remain with Germany. Here is what is said about them in the pro-Polish book "Poland: Key to Europe", which appeared in 1939, written by the American economist Dr Raymond Leslie Buell (p. 76).

While the [Paris Peace] Conference rejected the Polish demand with respect to East Prussia, it did agree to have plebiscites held in parts of this area inhabited by Protestant Mazurians who spoke Polish - namely, in the Marienwerder and Allenstein. These plebiscites, held on July 11, 1920, went overwhelmingly in favour of Germany.1

Note 1: Miss Wambaugh agrees with the Polish charge that the plebiscites were imperfectly organized, but declares that they roughly reflected the wishes of the inhabitants. Sarah Wambaugh: Plebiscites since the World War (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1933), Vol. I, p. 141.


There is one more irony of history. When West Prussia, the Posen Province and East Upper Silesia were handed over to Poland, the Jews remaining in those territories, who of course were all German citizens, all chose to retain their German citizenship and emigrate to Germany rather than remain in their homes under Polish rule. They believed that the newly independent Polish state would be both highly chauvinistic and anti-Semitic - and they were right. What they could not foresee was that Germany would eventually become as anti-Semitic as Poland.

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Post by michael mills » 17 Jul 2003 06:42

Here is an interesting site that details the history of West Prussia, in German.

http://home.t-online.de/home/glee-family/History.html

Prior to 1773, West Prussia was known as "Royal Prussia". It consisted of the western portion of the domains of the Teutonic Knights that was ceded to the Polish Crown in the Second Treaty of Thorn, in 1466. The name "Royal Prussia" derived from the fact that this territory from 1466 was a possession of the Polish Crown, in contrast to the remaining territory of the Teutonic Order, which only owed allegiance to the Polish Crown.

The site makes the important point that "Royal Prussia", although a possession of the Polish Crown, was not incorporated into the Kingdom of Poland, but retained its separate identity, being connected to Poland only in a personal union, in the same way that the Grand-Duchy of Lithuania was connected to the Kingdom of Poland. That is, the King of Poland was at the same time the ruler of Lithuania and the ruler of Royal Prussia.

Thus, Copernicus, who was born in 1473 in Thorn, a city in the territory of Royal Prussia, was by nationality Prussian rather than Polish, although as an inhabitant of Royal Prussia he was a subject of the Polish Crown.

In 1773, when Royal Prussia was ceded to the Kingdom of Prussia, it was named "West Prussia" by Frederick II. The Duchy of Prussia (ie the territory that had remained with the Teutonic Order in 1466 and had been part of the Kingdom of Prussia since the beginning of the 18th century) was renamed "East Prussia".

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